Selecting a celebrant

March 7, 2017

Here is an article featured in GCN magazine regarding selecting a celebrant

Finalists announced in the Mrs2be Brides Choice Awards 2016 – Best Wedding Celebrant

July 26, 2016


The finalists have all been announced for the 2016 Mrs2be Brides Choice Awards and I am delighted to announce that two of our Celebrants have made the three person finalist list in the catagory “Best Wedding Celebrant”.

Congratulations to Bernice Farrell and Sandra Losty who have made the final list.  We are very proud of them and of all of our Celebrants who work hard to ensure that all of our ceremonies are carried out to the highest standards.

Emma and Bianca

July 26, 2016

This ceremony is featured in Irish LBGT weddings, click link to see


A Christmas Wedding Joining Two Families Together was the Perfect Celebration

Read more…

A Christmas Wedding Joining Two Families Together was the Perfect Celebration
The place where all good love stories start; Emma Behan and Brazilian native Bianca Soares Martins met on a night out at the George in Dublin and instantly knew they were right for each other. In March 2015 Emma and Bianca had a civil partnership after the Brazilian beauty popped the question. Unfortunately Bianca’s family couldn’t come to Ireland in March so the newlyweds decided to have a second ceremony in December while the family were visiting for Christmas. The marriage equality bill passing in May meant that the girls could make the wedding official and everyone was there to celebrate.

They booked Cellbridge Manor Hotel for December 28, 2015. The excitement was building in the lead up to the wedding. The couple decided to go for a rainbow theme with a “bit of a winter wonderland feel to it too.” Bianca designed the invites, printed them and sent them out to 100 of their family and friends. For their day, Bianca chose to wear a stunning two piece ivory suit with a blue silk top underneath. It was made in The Bridal Lodge in Athy. Emma wore a stunning House of Mooshki short ivory dress with blue underneath the layers of tulle. This dress was bought in Frilly Frocks, Drogheda. Bianca carried a white rose bouquet and Emma opted for a rainbow rose bouquet.

There were a few special touches throughout the couples’ day including Caipirinhas (a Brazilian cocktail) for the guests, made by Bianca. They also had a fingerprint tree as their guestbook with rainbow fingerprints. Emma’s dad made a rainbow photo booth for people to use with rainbow and Christmas props. The pair also had charity pins for Down Syndrome as their favours. Emma’s favourite memory of the day is “coming down the stairs in my dress, seeing Bianca so beautiful waiting at the top of the aisle and finally being married.” For Bianca it was when she recorded a special video before the wedding to send to her sisters who unfortunately couldn’t be there. She also shared that when she “saw Emma come down the aisle looking gorgeous, and when my mam made a personal reading at the ceremony. Those two moments stand out for me.”

To officiate the ceremony the girls went with Spiritual Ceremonies and Berenice Farrell was their solemniser. “She put us at ease from the first time we met her. She took time to ask about us both so she could make the ceremony more personal for us. She sent us lots of sample ceremonies and readings and made it all so easy. She performed the ceremony beautifully and all of our guests commented on how lovely the ceremony was.” Both Emma and Bianca had the perfect day and shared their first dance to Jesse Glynne, “Hold my Hand.” For their honeymoon the pair jetted off to Rome for a long weekend in February.

A Christmas Wedding Joining Two Families Together was the Perfect Celebration
A Christmas Wedding Joining Two Families Together was the Perfect Celebration
A Christmas Wedding Joining Two Families Together was the Perfect Celebration

Amy and Bernard

June 2, 2016

GAA Inspired Wedding by Circus Photography

A ceremony performed by Minister Mary Losty.  Well, this proposal is a first for me! Couple Amy and Bernard, Kerry and Dublin fans respectively, went for a low-key meal in their favorite restaurant in Temple Bar one night. Little did Amy know, Bernard had a surprise prepared for her. Presented to her as an early Christmas gift was a GAA football jersey, half Kerry, Half Dublin with “Mrs. Kenealy?” on the back. We love the thought and effort put into the proposal and how unique to their own lives and relationship this truly was. Well done, Bernard! Not only was their engagement inspired by GAA but so was their wedding day. You’ll see below how they took their theme to heart.

Thanks for sharing their hilariously sweet wedding day, Circus Photography.

For full article

Charleine and Stephen

June 1, 2016


Vintage Chic – Anglers Rest Real Wedding by Emma Russell Photography


 “My favourite part of the day was driving through the Phoenix Park in our vintage car with my new husband having our photos taken.”

The couple: Charlene Bennett and Stephen Devlin

Length of engagement: 9 months | Wedding Date: 5th December 2014

Wedding location: The Anglers Rest, Strawberry Beds, Chapelizod

Photographer: Emma Russell Photography


We met… Stephen and I were neighbours when we met first, and it was years later when we got together.



Our proposal… Stephen had surprised me with a night’s stay for my birthday in Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim. I was at that stage 6 months pregnant on our second child, and so the Spa treatments were to be the highlight of my stay. As I got my slippers and robe to go down to the treatments I found a little white box among them. That’s when Stephen asked me the big question as to which I said ‘Yes’ but had no time to enjoy the moment as I had to rush off  down to the Spa – the girls were met with a shaking blubbering mess. Needless to say I didn’t really get to enjoy it as I kept staring at my ring and wanted to just go and ring my mam to tell her.




My hair and make-up… My hair was done by Casey in Hession Hairdressing in Drumcondra. It was decided during the trial that my hair pulled around to the side in a low bun with soft finger curl waves would suit the look. My hair wasn’t quite long enough so I bought extensions and Casey in Hessions looked after dying them to match my hair. I bought my headpiece in Debenhams and my bird cage veil from Emile’s Wedding Boutique on Facebook. My make-up was done by Ailbhe Gaskin and from the very first time we met during the trial, she knew exactly what type of look I was looking for. I wear make-up most of the time but it was my first time wearing a red lip. She was able to steer me in the right direction with regards to what type of red suited me (who knew there were so many)! I was so happy with my make-up on the day, the smokey eye and winged eye-liner together with the red lip completed the vintage look for me.



My dress… I never looked at any other dresses other then tea-length. I had searched the internet and hadn’t found exactly what I was looking for. I  had more or less decided to have a dress made by a dressmaker and so I made some appointments to get some ideas. When I arrived at The Bridal Outlet in Baldoyle, I was given five tea-length dresses to try on. By the time I had the fourth dress on I was in love. It was a Justin Alexander (8706) and it was exactly what I had imagined I would wear. The lace neckline felt so elegant and the silk dupion criss-cross cummerbund gave me shape I wanted, especially as I worked hard after having a baby in June to get in shape for the wedding.



His suit… We had decided that Stephen’s suit would be navy and so three weeks before the wedding we headed out to Kildare Village. We ended up getting everything in the first shop we went in to; a lovely 3-piece Ted Baker suit, shoes, shirt, tie and belt. Thanks to Savoy Taylors Guild for the easiest wedding shopping we had to do.



Our ceremony… We held our ceremony in The Anglers Rest. The Collins Room is beautiful and intimate and has the same rustic feel as the rest of the venue. Our ceremony was officiated by Tom Colton and was put together by Stephen, myself and Tom Colton. It included a ring warming ceremony in which our wedding bands were passed amongst our guests to receive well wishes and blessings from all who were there. I was really teary during our ceremony as it all felt so intimate and personal. I managed to say my vows with a bit of help and they made reference to our two children as I wanted to include them. We had Doug Sheridan sing during the ceremony and at our drinks reception, he was amazing. We had so many of our guests complimenting him and inquiring as to where we found him.

For full article go to

Photos by Emma Russell Photography

Laura and Moe

May 31, 2016


We chose to have a spiritualist ceremony. Our solemniser, Thomas Patrick Colton, was very calm and professional and really made our ceremony feel unique and special. We got married in the beautiful chapel on the grounds of BrookLodge & Macreddin Village. To reach the chapel, you cross a bridge over a bubbling stream. We chose the unity candle ceremony which involved both our mothers who passed a candle to their future son/daughter-in-law. We also chose to have a traditional Celtic handfasting ceremony, where Thomas used four coloured pieces of ribbon, each symbolic, to drape over our hands before he tied the knot to make us officially husband and wife. We loved the spiritualist ceremony because it was so intimate and personal and really reflected who we are as a couple.

For full article go to

Photo by

Ida and Lucas

May 30, 2016

A ceremony performed by our very own Berenice Farrell featured on weddingsonline

Lucas and Ida's Wedding captured by Aidan Oliver

Lucas and Ida’s Wedding captured by Aidan Oliver


An Über Cool, Laid-back Wedding at The Anglers Rest


May 4, 2016

The beautiful dark haired Victoria Duffy and the pretty faced Julianne Gillen first laid eyes on each other across a sitting room at a house party of a mutual friend. Julianne was shy and Vicki took her under her wing. Little did these two ladies know that that very day at their friend Andre’s new home they would fall in love and have the most amazing wedding day.Vicki grew up in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin. Her family is part of the famous Duffys Circus which is still going strong today. Jules grew up in a small town in Roscommon, she went to Dublin at the age of 17 to go to college and has resided there ever since.  The ladies are now living in Jules house in Clonsilla with her two children, Callan, 17, Théa, 10 and Vickis dog Doris Day.

Jules became deaf at the age of two from meningitis; while she can talk and communicate well, she is a fluent Irish Sign Language (ISL) user and an active member of the Irish Deaf Community.  She used to co-present Hands On the TV programme for the Irish Deaf Community and is now working as a Community Resource Officer and Advocate with

Vicki is a semi-retired singer; she worked as a supporting singer for a lot of the big names back in the 1980s and 1990s. When not singing she works as a car showroom coordinator for various motor dealerships.


A mutual friend named  Andre  bought a house in Clondalkin, directly opposite Vicki’s house, not only did he invite his friends to his afternoon house warming party, he kindly invited his new neighbours.

Julianne says that while she was sitting shyly in the corner wondering how to leave without being noticed, Vicki came over and introduced herself. The pair hit it off really well and ended up talking all day. It was love at first sight for Vicki and she set out to woo Jules.

They added each other on Facebook where Vicki messaged to ask Jules out for coffee or a vino but got fobbed off at the start of her pursuit. Vicki was telling Jules about her circus background, when she replied that she hadn’t been to a circus in years! Vicki mentioned that her uncles Tom Duffys Circus was in Clontarf at the time and offered to take her and her children to see it. She didn’t say no to that!

The circus date lead to a proper dinner date and then another and another and before the summer ended Jules had fallen in love with Vicki. Their relationship blossomed from there and before they knew it, plans to marry were in full swing.


Jules recalls the moment the pair decided to get hitched and of course, the moment was marked by a ring.

The first Christmas after they got together, Vicki was looking for a ring to replace one that had gone missing so Jules offered to get her it as an early Christmas present. Jules liked her ring so much she got the same one for herself as well! People kept asking if they were engaged so that got them seriously talking about making it official, before New Year was over the pair had agreed to just do it.


What had initially started out as a small hush-hush intimate affair snowballed into a big do as all of the ladies family and friends insisted on being involved! The girls set the date for June 7, 2015 at the stunning Summerhill House Hotel in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.

With the venue sorted, the invites were sent (with instructions to wear something turquoise!) to 100 adults plus seven children with another 70 for the afters.


Vicki had a bespoke suit made by A Suit That Fits in Dublin. Vickis turquoise polka dot shirt was made to order as a gift from her best woman and life long friend Jackie Courtney.  Flowers were supplied by Fussy Peacock who the ladies say, were wonderful to work with.

Jules fell in love with a silver overcoat from Nicola Ross, and then went looking for something special to wear underneath it. After weeks of looking she finally found a simple jersey dress and a layered underskirt from the Mary Grant Alternative Wedding Collection in the Powerscourt Centre.


Julianne and Vicky reigned in the budget on some aspects of their big day. A good friend, TJ Hedderman, made their cake as a wedding present. The bottom was chocolate biscuit, the middle was Lemon Madeira and the top was red velvet.

Coming from a musical family, and being a singer herself, Vicki wasn’t short of musical talent on her big day. They had a vibrant mix of classical, country, funk, jazz, pop and traditional music going all day!

Another of Vicki’s friends Kevin Deane of Kevin Deane Photography took the pictures on the day as a wedding present. Cyril Fox of Video Me Productions shot the day.

Jules made most of the stationery herself, the table plans and she created  fans that outlined the order of the service.
Vincent Whelan of the Spiritual Union of Ireland officiated at the blessing. Jules shares, It was a beautiful, moving and emotional service. Vinny used to work with Vicki in the motor trade and this was his gift to us, he kept choking up and making everyone emotional!


For Jules, it was a classic case of wedding morning stress that made her appreciate the main moments of her day. There was a few niggling hiccups happening right up to the ceremony that really bothered her but the minute she walked into the room and saw her beloved Vicki standing at the top waiting for her, all the stress literally just poured away. Their ceremony was so emotional, it was a really beautiful, unique and personal, says Julianne.
For Vicki, it was the personal touches and of course the all important first look at Julianne that made her day.  Their niece Tia Duffy sang The One by Kodaline during the ceremony as a special surprise for us. Vicki also ended up playing the drums with the jazz band!  And of course, when she saw her beautiful bride walk in.

As Jules is a Deaf sign language user and there was deaf guests in attendance, the entire day was totally bilingual conducted in both ISL and spoken English. The ceremony, the speeches etc., were all signed by their good friend and sign language interpreter, Catherine White.

Vicki has a huge love for Bette Midler so all the tables were named after each of her biggest hits.

And of course the music- A lot of their friends were very involved in the day. Musical family and friends provided the music.
The minister who conducted the Spiritual ceremony was an old friend; their ISL interpreter was a good friend; plus others offered to do wedding favours, the cake, photographs, hair, make-up, video and decorations. The pair agreed that this really helped in keeping the costs down.
A circus date was just the ticket!
Visit for more on the ceremony

The change in weddings

May 3, 2016

Irish times 2 may 2016


With this symbolic handfast, I thee wed – the changing face of weddings
For couples who do not want a traditional church wedding, there are a growing number of other options, including humanist, spiritualist and pagan ceremonies

Mon, May 2, 2016, 06:00
Laura Kennedy

The wedding industry in Ireland is bigger business than ever, but because so many nontraditional organisations are offering new and unfamiliar marriage services, there is understandable uncertainty.
Luckily, it isn’t the Wild West of profiteering and weird ideologies that some perceive it to be. Having a nontraditional marriage is more straightforward than you might think. The chances of finding yourself in a field of crops while wearing a crown of dock leaves and suffering from chronic hay fever are very low.
John James Hickey and Shaun Moriarty are free to marry now that the 2015 Marriage Act has been passed. They met in 2013 when they were both involved in the Limerick 2018 Gay Games bid, only to find that they had lived in the same town for several years without crossing paths. They got engaged shortly after they met. They now live in Tipperary. When they got engaged, they were resigned to civil partnership but maintained hope that the marriage equality referendum might take place before their wedding rolled around.

When the referendum passed, they were comforted by the positivity with which the Spiritualist Union of Ireland welcomed them when they were looking for a legal wedding solemniser (as opposed to a celebrant) who could create an inclusive ceremony that reflected them as a couple, as well as celebrating the people and circumstances that helped get them to their wedding day this summer.
“For us, marriage and the right to get married has meant that our journey to our ceremony is filled with all sorts of emotions and people along the way,” says Hickey. “Thus, we wanted a ceremony that was reflective of who we are as a couple, but also one that was as inclusive as possible, with our families and friends taking part.”
Embracing change
With marriage equality now a reality, many LGBTQ couples who aren’t catered for by religious institutions are looking for organisations – both religious and secular – that can tailor a wedding ceremony to them. But they are not the only ones: heterosexual couples are also embracing change. Almost 28 per cent of marriages in 2014 were civil ceremonies. Added to those were 392 civil partnerships.
Marriage in Ireland is changing. The 2011 census showed the proportion of the population identifying as Catholic reached its lowest point that year at 84.2 per cent. This number might still sound high, but only about 18 per cent of Irish people attended Mass regularly. Although traditional church weddings – Catholic or otherwise – are not going away, there is a growing appetite for different, and more customisable wedding options.
A standard Catholic wedding usually involves a fee for use of the church and the priest. The smallest overall fee I encountered was €200, and the largest was €600, which challenges the notion that nontraditional or nonreligious weddings are always more expensive or more motivated by profit.
Legislation limits secular organisations more aggressively than religious ones. The Humanist Association of Ireland is a nonprofit organisation and, as a nonreligious body, must fulfil strict criteria in order to be able to marry people. Secular bodies are prevented from solemnising for the purpose of profit or gain. They provide the same ceremonial marriage services as religious bodies with the same moral ideology of solemnifying partnerships – just without the religion.
A secular celebration
Nicole Carolan and Niall McCauley met through friends in 2007, during their time at UCD. They got engaged on April Fools’ Day last year. They are in the midst of planning a humanist wedding, and chose humanism because it provides them with the secularism they want. Although they want a wedding without religion, they still want to mark the event with a ceremony and have a memorable day with their family and friends.
Despite the fact that McCauley comes from a family of Mass-goers, the couple have been delighted by the interest and openness their families have shown. According to Carolan, people are occasionally a bit confused by their choice to have their wedding ceremony in a hotel, but a humanist ceremony is the right choice for them as a couple. “Neither of us are religious . . . We felt that it would be hypocritical to have a religious ceremony. The notion of having to do one of those marriage courses didn’t sit very well with either of us, nor did the idea of a priest opining to us as to what love is or should be.”
For those who want a completely secular ceremony, and have no belief in God or the supernatural, the Humanist Association of Ireland – by far the most popular organisation for nontraditional weddings – is arguably the best option. Humanism focuses on appreciation of the world and people around us. They will happily marry nonreligious couples who share their philosophy regardless of whether or not they are members of the Humanist Association.
Demand for humanist weddings is extremely high given that the nonreligious in Ireland are now the second-largest demographic after Roman Catholics, so there is usually a wait involved in securing the wedding date of your choice. The Humanist Association of Ireland recommends booking as far in advance as possible. There are 21 humanist solemnisers working across Ireland at the moment, and fees for wedding ceremonies average €450-€500.
Other spiritual options
If you are like many of us, and cannot muster the organisational skill to plan that far ahead, or you are not secular – but still don’t want to get married in your local parish – other religious or spiritual options are out there. The Spiritualist Union of Ireland was founded in 2009. It has 26 legal solemnisers working in Ireland and it performed the first legal outdoor ceremony in the State, in 2011.
The union is open to all views along the religious spectrum. It recognises a couples’ own belief systems and is a particularly good option to conduct interfaith marriages if a couple prefers not to choose a service that adheres to just one of their faiths.
The union specialises in inclusivity, and isn’t concerned with gender, sexuality or creed. Fees are about € 420. Although the Spiritualist Union is open to everyone, it is a religious organisation, so it doesn’t conduct completely secular ceremonies.
If you are particularly outdoorsy, or have a world view that orients around nature, then a pagan ceremony could be ideal. Pagan Life Rites was founded 2012, and 12 new solemnisers were registered in February of this year. It might sound odd to those who are unfamiliar with the different traditions, but the one thing they all share is a belief in the sanctity of nature. It is a religious organisation, so even though they will conduct ceremonies for atheists, a secular option might be a better fit for those without any religious beliefs.
According to Ailish Farragher – a solemniser with Pagan Life Rites – one person in the couple would ideally need to identify as pagan on some level, although proof isn’t required. Most couples who come to Pagan Life Rites to get married request something Celtic. They specialise in handfasting, where a cord is handed to wellwishers at the ceremony one by one, and then tied gently around the joined hands of the couple by the solemniser in a symbolic gesture. Fees vary from €150 to €400, depending on travel.
Handfasting ceremony
Joanna Schaffalitzky and her husband, Jon Hanna, had a pagan handfasting ceremony in 2014. It wasn’t yet legal at the time, so they had to follow it up with a civil ceremony in the afternoon. Although Hanna identifies as Wiccan, Schaffalitzky is Church of Ireland. They had the handfasting ceremony – which was written by Hanna – at home in their garden, attended by family, friends and Joanna’s rector, who, she says “was open-minded and curious about the ceremony”.
Schaffalitzky describes a pagan wedding ritual as “an ideal choice for both religious and nontraditional people. Our ceremony was very personal, and performed by our friends. Jon drew from the Book of Common Prayer, which was a lovely touch he knew I’d appreciate, and even our more traditional guests really enjoyed the ceremony. It was an ideal wedding day.”
A major impediment for most couples in Ireland seeking nontraditional weddings is a fear of ending up with a bizarre or unusual ceremony, where guests have an awkward afternoon of basket-weaving in a damp forest. All the above organisations are committed to helping couples create the wedding they desire. Although it is a competitive industry, it is well-regulated. In fact, the extent of the regulation can contribute to the lag in new solemnisers being registered to meet demand.
Since all of the organisations offering nontraditional legal marriage services in Ireland have met stringent requirements, engaged couples can rest assured that registered solemnisers provide a genuine service. It is just a matter of couples choosing the organisation that aligns with their lifestyle and beliefs. The register of solemnisers, which is readily available online, details every religious and secular solemniser in Ireland who is qualified to conduct legal marriage ceremonies.
It is easier than ever to find a trustworthy, qualified solemniser to help build the ceremony you have always wanted, which leaves you the space to focus on the most important aspect for everyone involved: a really good cake. © 2016 THE IRISH TIMES

Sunflower Wedding in Northern Ireland

April 14, 2016


By Nicole
It’s official: there is nothing happier in the world than a sunflower wedding. Quirky couple Shona and Fin were married in a colorful and eclectic celebration of their love at Larchfield Estate in Ireland. The bohemian styling, which perfectly reflects the couple’s aesthetic, came together with the help of loved ones and the brilliant staff at Larchfield Estate. The resulting images exude absolute joy thanks to fantastic photography team The Lous.

The Couple:

Shona and Fin

The Wedding:

Larchfield Estate, Lisburn, Ireland

The Inspiration:

One word: Colour! We wanted our wedding day to portray the love and happiness that we feel everyday and we thought that colour, flowers and light was the best way to do that! We made most of the décor, favors etc. ourselves along with some of our amazing friends and family, as we wanted it to be very personal and made with love.

The Moments:

Can we say the entire ceremony? It was so personal, heartfelt and full of so much love, it felt like it was Fin and I there with this beautiful light surrounding us-and this was our family and friends!

The Couple Recommends:

We were so blessed with every single one of our vendors, each on of them gave us an amazing service on the day. A very personal shout out would go to The Lous and Minister Tom Colton-without them our day would not have been the absolutely magical day that it was! The Lous not only told our story but caught so many emotions on the day, it was like having two of our best friends take our photos. Tom was so beautifully personal and heartfelt, we never dreamed that we could literally design our own ceremony but finding Tom allowed this dream to come true. David Lamont who created the floral arch and bouquets-i had always dreamed of getting married under a floral arrange and what he created surpassed all of my dreams. Andrew at Eyecapture weddings captured the day beautifully and was so unobtrusive. I cannot highly recommend all of our vendors enough!

Read the full article

Photographs: The Lous
Getting married in Ireland check out our website. Registered Solemnisers who can perform the legal element of your ceremony too